Embracing Product Information Quality

Embracing Product Information Quality March 27, 2019

Poor product content is a real conversion killer. Many studies show that customers abandon their digital cart due to poor product descriptions or missing product specifications. Approximately thirty to forty percent of customers have returned an online purchase because of poor product content. Besides that, it will negatively affect your brand thrust.

The moment you convinced yourself there’s work to be done, it can be hard sometimes to oversee everything. Any issues encountered you probably want to solve as quickly as possible. Preferably in such a way the problem does not return. But where do you start? And how do you convince your colleagues or superiors to invest their precious time, energy and funds in optimizing the data quality? I’ll point out why a thoughtful MDM strategy is indispensable in that respect.

Examples of bad data and their impact

A few examples. Incorrect packaging dimensions in an ERP system can cause logistic costs go through the roof. Your customer satisfaction score goes in the opposite direction when customers start to call because they received the wrong product; a square garden table is delivered while they really ordered that round model on your website. And that ‘out of the box’ integration with this data provider seemed so promising at first glance. Until you noticed that due to poor data quality on your side, only 20% of the assortment could be matched.

When zooming in on a problem, you often run into a larger underlying issue. The main reason why customers keep complaining about missing product information is because there is a lack of governance within your organization: It is not clear who is exactly responsible for which product specifications. In the garden table case, it wasn’t just a problem of an incorrect product image. Instead it turned out that an overzealous purchasing department linked hundreds of barcodes incorrectly. Ouch.

How to convince your stakeholders?

In my work over the last years I encountered these kinds of data related challenges more than once. What I have noticed is that the importance of good product data and data management strategy is increasingly acknowledged and embraced within organizations. After all, in order to be able to make the right data-driven decisions you need correct data. Good quality data is at the heart of the strategic, tactical and operational direction of each organization.

Funny thing is that getting support for organizational change, budget, manpower or other investments can still be a struggle.

It is great if management sees data as one of the most important assets. It’s even greater if they support DQ initiatives. However, often their first question will be; How much does it yield? Building a solid business case around master data management can be difficult but my advice is to try it anyway.

For example, you could apply an ROI model on your content strategy. The costs of maintaining 50,000 products with 10 characteristics could rise quickly if the number of product specifications or languages increases. Or take a closer look at the number of products returned by customers; How many percent of orders go wrong due to incorrect product information? How long does it take for a product from being created in your PIM/ERP system to reach a customer? What does it mean in terms of profit if you could accelerate this process by 30%? On your website you could run an A/B test to find out the conversion impact of rich(er) product content.

However, the added value does not necessarily need to be expressed in euros. Make an overview of strategic projects -that are already running or will start soon- within your company. Which of these projects are doomed to fail -or are likely to slow down dramatically- by missing or faulty product data? If you are able to show management that data is the foundation of these strategic projects, it may open their eyes. After all, if that foundation is rotten, chances are that the whole lot collapses.

Here at YellowGround (part of Xplore Group and Cronos) these kinds of challenges keep the energy flowing. We believe that it’s important you get the solution that fits your company’s needs. Therefore, we’ll do a deep dive to see how data flows through your organization, how it is managed, and we take a closer look at your architecture and infrastructure. We’ll help you with your PIM/MDM strategy and implementation. We provide you with sufficient information to make a knowledgeable choice. Of course, we offer you hands-on training about the delivered functionalities, since it is you who will eventually work with this solution.

To get in touch and find out more, drop me an email at Teun.jaspers@yellowground.eu

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